Marine Literacy (2002-2013)

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Project Type: 
Extension
Project Number: 
A/P-20

Participants:

Brian Doyle (Deceased 12/2008) N.H. Sea Grant Associate Director
Mark Wiley N.H. Sea Grant Assistant Director for Education
Dari Christenson N.H. Sea Grant Program Associate, Marine Science Education
Situation: 

The recent reports of two national commissions on the status of the oceans emphasize the important role of education in the future of the oceans. Both commissions, the PEW Oceans Commission and the United States Commission on Ocean Policy, stress that successful management of our ocean resources is dependent upon the development of a citizenry literate in marine and aquatic science.

The heightened urgency to increase marine literacy identified by the Commissions joins the on-going efforts in public schools throughout the country to significantly improve student performance in mathematics and science. This effort can benefit greatly from the utilization of marine and aquatic science as an engaging context for the teaching of core mathematics and science content. Programs like Sea Grant are well positioned to help provide the curriculum resources and teacher professional development necessary to succeed.

New Hampshire has over 470 public and private schools serving nearly 230,000 students with an average per pupil expenditure of $8,495. Despite the state’s small size and relatively low per pupil expenditure, New Hampshire students produce SAT scores and SAT participation well above the national average. Nevertheless, the state faces similar performance problems to others around the country because of “No Child Left Behind.” To prepare for the upcoming national science assessment requirements, work continues on reviewing and revising the NH Science Frameworks. Once these new frameworks are adopted and begin to be used in the classrooms, teachers will face numerous challenges implementing them.

Delivery of marine science extension programs in the region will continue to rely heavily on the more than 150 Sea Grant-trained volunteers, UNH Marine Docents. Due to the small size of the state, New Hampshire Sea Grant and the Docent program can make a significant contribution to the challenges public schools face incorporating new science standards into their curricula and improving student performance.

Goals: 
  1. Create and sustain effective marine and aquatic science-based educational programs for both formal K-12 audiences and informal family and adult audiences.
 
  1. Support the use of marine and aquatic sciences content and examples in the teaching of science, mathematics, social sciences and language arts.
 
  1. Expand professional development opportunities for all educators.
 
  1. Cultivate leadership in, and the growth of, marine and aquatic sciences education communities.
Objectives: 

Selected Objectives for 2008-2011

Objective 1: At least 25 K-12 teachers per year will adopt marine science concepts and contexts learned through Sea Grant programs that support teaching of core sciences and other content standards.

Activities:

  • Review and revise existing programs and curriculum materials to support teaching core science standards through a marine context
  • Develop new marine education K-12 Sea Trek programs that reflect emerging national scientific issues and address prioritized education standards
  • Develop guides to existing curricular and program materials that identify how the marine context can be used to address core content standards
  • Develop convenient and effective teacher training in conjunction with all boat-based and field programs utilizing both face-to-face and remote methods

Objective 2: At least 100 K-12 students per year will improve performance in content areas as a result of teachers incorporating marine science into their lesson plans.

Activities:

  • Develop a system for the ongoing evaluation of all Sea Trek programs
  • Assist teachers in measuring the improvement in student performance as a result of participation in programs
  • Collaborate with local, regional, and national experts to document the effectiveness of using the marine context to teach core content standards and improve student performance

Objective 3: By 2111 measurably increase the marine science literacy of 25,000 adults and children through specialist and volunteer delivered outcome-based, formal and informal education programs.

Activities:

  • Expand our programs and materials that target adult audiences and recruit and train a cadre of Docents specifically for that role
  • Pursue collaboration with other UNH-based programs, 4-H, and other New Hampshire and New England informal education organizations in the development and delivery of K- 12 marine programs 
  • Participate in the planning and delivery of regional and national educator training programs through our partnership with the Maine-based COSEE-OS and new collaborations

Objective 4: To have at least 15 new volunteers each year make a two-year commitment to the UNH Marine Docent Program and become part of our education staff.

Activities:

  • Provide a 5-month training program for the docent candidates that includes: a survey of marine/estuarine /watershed topics, presentation/teaching skills, and “buddying-up” with experienced docents 
  • Continue to expand the WADE (Wider and Deeper Experiences for Experienced Docents) education program to include a “Sophomore Year “ which will be a 3-4 session short course on selected topics 
  • Increase efforts to provide Marine Docent and Great Bay Coast Watch opportunities to home-school and other under-represented populations 
  • Work closely with other New Hampshire informal and formal marine and aquatic education organizations to maximize our impact and effectiveness with K-12 and adult audiences

Objective 5: At least 10 divers, 5 seafood handlers, and 2 baitfish dealers will adopt practices that prevent accidental introduction of invasive species.

Activities:

  • Develop an effective invasive species identification and data reporting program for recreational divers in NH and New England 
  • Collaborate with other New England Sea Grant programs to develop a training program for seafood handlers to minimize the release of invasive species based upon the HAACP model 
  • Collaborate with other New England Sea Grant programs to develop bait packaging educational materials and recruit bait dealer support for such materials

Goals for 2004-2007:

1.       Develop, enhance, customize and field test multidisciplinary K-12 curriculum materials and programs that support state and national science standards.
 
2.       Increase opportunities for K-12 NH teachers to improve their knowledge and skills in the marine science fields by providing appropriate training for pre-service and practicing teachers.
 
3.       Build a marine literate citizenry by increasing public understanding of critical NH marine and coastal issues through up-to-date and relevant marine education programs focusing on the Gulf of Maine.
 
Objective 1: To have at least 15 new volunteers each year make a two-year commitment to the UNH Marine Docent Program and become part of our education staff.

Background: While volunteer opportunities abound in the state – NH is “tops” among the states in the percent of its population who volunteer in some capacity – our small, but important coastal region continues to attract much interest. The development of several environmental education centers in the state in the past 30 years has only increased the demand for the kinds of educational and interpretive skills that the marine docents have to offer. The utilization of marine docents in all aspects of our marine education portfolio of programs is critical to our continued success. Demand from our clientele greatly exceeds our staff’s capacity to deliver, so a highly motivated and trained group of volunteers is necessary.

Objective 2: To have 75% of educators participating in selected marine science education programs utilize them as part of a broader marine or environmental education unit in their curriculum.

Background: With the application of content requirements for educators in the new federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, middle school and high school educators will be motivated to gain expertise in their subject fields. This presents opportunities to increase our emphasis on teacher workshops in science content areas. Showing teachers where marine science can help them meet requirements in the content areas and also support the state standards that guide their curricula will be a very important part of the program.

Objective 3: To have at least two middle/high school teachers and five students per year participate in marine research that is supported by a collaborative grant involving research scientists and marine education outreach staff and volunteers.

Background: The National Science Foundation and other large funding agencies and organizations are often requiring researchers to include an outreach component in their grant proposals. Sea Grant Extension staff are seeking opportunities to involve their clientele in cutting edge marine research. Collaborative proposals would be a means to accomplish this.

Accomplishments: 
2013

UNH Marine Docents help marine education centers offer quality programming inexpensively

N.H. Sea Grant-trained docents provide a significant economic benefit to three N.H. marine education centers, enabling them to provide high quality marine science programs to a wide range of visitors, programs that the centers wouldn’t be able to provide without this assistance.

RELEVANCE: Providing marine education is an important step in increasing understanding of the marine environment and the challenges it faces and in fostering a sense of stewardship of our coastal resources.

RESPONSE: The Seacoast Science Center, Gundalow Company and Great Bay Discovery Center are marine education organizations with a combined visitorship of over 80,000 per year. The Seacoast Science Center is a site-based, informal education center that specializes in rocky shore programming in Rye, N.H. The Gundalow Company is a boat-based maritime history and environmental education program in Portsmouth, N.H. The Great Bay Discovery Center is a site-based educational program of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and N.H. Fish and Game located in Greenland and specializing in estuary education. All three are able to complete their missions with the assistance of UNH Marine Docents.

RESULTS: The docents apply their Sea Grant training to provide programs and support to the three organizations, enabling the centers to significantly reduce the cost of programming staff and increase the number of programs they can provide and visitors they serve. Docents provided $73,636 worth of services to the three organizations during 2013.

Ocean Discovery Day highlights UNH School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, doubles attendance
The new School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering was the highlight of the newly named Ocean Discovery Day. Since its inception in 2010 as Know the Coast Day, Ocean Discovery Day has given area residents of all ages an introduction to the wide range of marine-related work being done at UNH. Organized and staffed in large measure by N.H. Sea Grant staff and about 80 NHSG-trained UNH Marine Docent volunteers, 2013’s two-day event attracted about 2,000 visitors, which was more than double the 2012 participation, and included tours of two of UNH’s marine research and teaching facilities. For the second consecutive year the program included one day devoted strictly to school groups, designed to give potential undergraduates an understanding of how they could launch marine-related careers at UNH.

Discovery Cruises introduce residents and visitors to N.H.’s coastal resources
UNH’s Discovery Cruises continued to be popular outings during the summer of 2013, introducing over 300 residents and visitors to the state’s coastal resources during 12 cruises either out to the Isles of Shoals and the Shoals Marine Lab or into Great Bay and the Jackson Estuarine Lab. Ongoing for almost 20 years, these public cruises are day-long, activity-based educational events delivered by N.H. Sea Grant extension staff and UNH Marine Docents trained by N.H. Sea Grant aboard the university's research vessel, Gulf Challenger. Over 90% of the participants on Great Bay cruises reported increased knowledge of the physical and chemical characteristics of an estuary; the inhabitants of the estuary including plankton, eelgrass, oysters and horseshoe crabs; and the interactions between the biotic and abiotic. They also learned about tools and techniques used by scientists conducting research in the bay. Over 90% also reported an increase in their feelings of connectedness, curiosity and concern for the estuary. Participants in the Shoals cruises were introduced to the biological, oceanographic and cultural history of the Gulf of Maine through tours of Appledore Island and hands-on activities aboard the vessel. They learned about the rich productivity of the Gulf and how that led to the development of the fishing industry in New England. The natural history of the island was explored through tours of gull colonies and flora. Visitors also learned about the history of the island.

Inner city students provided opportunity to study N.H.’s coastal resources
The N.H. Sea Grant-supported UNH Marine Docent program provided a unique marine education experience to 100 disadvantaged inner city youth from the greater Washington, D.C., area in August 2013. The youth were part of the Higher Education Readiness Opportunity (HERO) program, an effort of the College Success Foundation to provide academic experiences they might otherwise not have to excite and motivate them to attend college and pursue careers like those in marine science. NHSG-trained docents introduced the youth to the mysteries of the Gulf of Maine through a series of hands-on activities at UNH’s Judd Gregg Marine Research Center in New Castle, N.H., and the Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory on UNH’s main campus. The students sampled water, examined microscopic plankton, sampled benthic mud on the R/V Gulf Challenger, drove underwater ROVs in a research tank, and met many of N.H.’s intertidal creatures.

N.H. Sea Grant-trained volunteers provide marine education to thousands
The UNH Marine Docents, a cadre of almost 220 N.H. Sea Grant-led and -trained volunteer educators, spent close to 6500 hours conducting marine education programs for state and area residents in 2013. This included 90 in-school SeaTrek programs for approximately 6500 students at 60 schools, five boat-based Floating Labs for 125 students, and four Day of the Coast programs, which provided over 130 SeaTreks to more than 800 students and teachers. SeaTrek programs provide an engaging educational experience designed to increase understanding of the marine environment and the challenges it faces, as well as foster a stronger sense of stewardship. The programs are closely aligned with, and support, both the NOAA-approved climate and ocean literacy standards and the recently released Next Generation Science Standards, which are expected to become the adopted science standards for K-12 formal education. Docents also staffed local nature centers and demonstrated the importance of our marine environment to several thousand citizens at events like Discover Wild N.H. Day, Tall Ships Weekend, and the Fish and Lobster Festival. Docents receive ongoing training at monthly meetings.

UNH Marine Docents refocus education programs to reflect current environmental problems
In 2013, UNH Marine Docents, N.H. Sea Grant-trained volunteer educators, utilized recent reports identifying nitrogen-based challenges to the Great Bay Estuary to update and refocus their Great Bay Estuary program. The team developed a presentation and hands-on activities to explain the sources of excess nitrogen in the system, show why excess nitrogen is a problem, and identify actions residents of the Great Bay watershed can take to help reduce the nitrogen load in the bay. This updated program is now being offered to schools and groups as part of the catalog of SeaTrek programs offered by the docents.

Also in 2013 the UNH Marine Docents updated a long-standing SeaTrek program that focuses on the beach habitat. This Sandy Beach program introduces students to the physical factors that create sandy beaches, and to the animals and plants that make it home. Particular attention is paid the source of sand and its relation to the watershed, the importance and fragility of the dune community, and the particular plight of the piping plover as an example of the interrelationship between the animals and physical environment of the beach.

New Hampshire Natural Resource Stewards receive estuary training
During 2013, training in the make-up and importance of the estuary was added to the introductory training given to the N.H. Natural Resource Stewards. The stewards are UNH Cooperative Extension volunteers dedicated to conserving and managing natural resources in New Hampshire cities and towns through providing education, outreach and service. Through a training program developed by N.H. Sea Grant educators, new stewards were introduced to the estuary in both field and classroom sessions that emphasized the importance of the estuary as a wetland, and its relation to the freshwater and marine environments nearby. The stewards will incorporate this training into their work delivering educational programs to adults and children, and as members of conservation commissions, land trusts and watershed associations.

Outdoor leadership undergraduates learn informal education teaching techniques
During 2013, N.H. Sea Grant educators developed a short course in informal education techniques for the field for an outdoor leadership course in the Kinesiology Department of the University of New Hampshire. The course utilized the framework of a class project for third graders in a local school to introduce teaching techniques effective in the outdoors. Practical techniques for student management and content delivery were combined with theoretical concepts of learning. The course also emphasized the lesson planning process in a standards-based context. The course was delivered to 20 undergraduates and is intended to be an annual component in the leadership program.

Citizen science, environmental literacy and aquaculture strengthened by undergraduate Doyle Fellows
During the summer of 2013 the Doyle Fellowship enabled two undergraduates to work alongside N.H. Sea Grant extension and education staff and support their work in citizen science, environmental literacy and aquaculture. Established in memory of its former associate director to address the need for workforce development in marine science and policy areas, NHSG’s Brian E. Doyle Undergraduate Marine Extension Fellowship program supported students from two N.H. universities. A Dartmouth College biology and environmental science major worked with NHSG’s coastal ecosystems specialist on a range of citizen science projects, including oyster restoration and eel monitoring. A University of New Hampshire junior worked with Sea Grant fisheries and aquaculture extension staff on developing community supported fisheries (CSF) in the New Hampshire Seacoast region and on marketing local seafood through the N.H. Fresh and Local seafood program.

N.H. Sea Grant strengthening statewide STEM education efforts
STEM New Hampshire is an informal organization formed in 2008 comprised of individuals representing formal and informal education, K-12 and higher education entities in N.H. The purpose of the organization has been to gather and share information about formal and informal STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs and opportunities in the state. In the face of recent state-wide interest and commitment to increasing the number of students engaging in STEM-related academic programs and potentially joining the STEM workforce, members of STEM N.H. are proposing to formalize a vision and mission for the organization that more aggressively pursues its original intent. N.H. Sea Grant educators have joined the executive committee of STEM N.H. and during 2013 provided significant consultation and support by establishing a strong connection to STEM entities and activities at UNH and to informal marine education efforts in N.H. and New England.

Nineteen new volunteers receive extensive marine education training
Nineteen new volunteers completed N.H. Sea Grant-led UNH Marine Docent training in 2013 and joined over 200 other docents as active marine educators. Docent education consists of lectures on marine topics by university professors, experienced docents or other professionals; communication and presentation skills workshops; field experiences; and "on the job" training. The training period initially lasts about five months, and docents are expected to attend lectures of their choice after the first year. Part of the training is learning a basic SeaTrek lecture or activity — such as the Rocky Shore or the Sandy Beach — as a way of acquiring the techniques necessary to present a program. Each new docent makes a two-year commitment to the program, but most stay much longer.

N.H. Sea Grant’s new website facilitates interactions with the program’s stakeholders
Launched in 2013, N.H. Sea Grant’s new Drupal-based website has improved the flow of information to the program’s many audiences. Incorporating both the former program website and the UNH/NHSG Marine Docent Program website, the new site allows staffers to maintain their own portions of the site and thus makes it more responsive to multiple users. It also features social media, becoming a two-way avenue of communication.

Sea Chantey Singers featured on rack card
N.H. Sea Grant produced a rack card, “Who are the Sea Chantey Singers?” in 2013. This publication provides a brief explanation of the history of sea chanteys in New England and the programs provided by the Sea Chantey Singers, a group of volunteers from the UNH/NHSG Marine Docent Program. New England’s rich fishing and sailing history stretches back more than 400 years, and the Sea Chantey Singers keep these songs alive to help preserve that heritage. The rack card has been distributed to libraries, chambers of commerce, and assisted living and senior centers to advertise their performance services and help educate the public about this aspect of the Seacoast’s history.

2012

Marine Education Centers Use NHSG-trained Docents to Increase Programming and Decrease Costs
RELEVANCE: Providing marine education is an important step in increasing understanding of the marine environment and the challenges it faces, and in fostering a sense of stewardship of our coastal resources.
RESPONSE: The Seacoast Science Center and Great Bay Discovery Center are marine education organizations with a combined visitorship of 82,000 per year that utilize volunteers trained in marine education by N.H. Sea Grant. The Seacoast Science Center is a site-based, informal education center that specializes in rocky shore programming in Rye, N.H. The Great Bay Discovery Center is a site-based educational program of the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and N.H. Fish and Game located in Greenland and specializing in estuary education.
RESULTS: UNH Marine Docent volunteers apply their Sea Grant training to provide programs and support to the two organizations, enabling the centers to significantly reduce the cost of programming staff and increase the number of programs they can provide and visitors they serve. Docents provided $147,095 worth of services to the Seacoast Science Center and Great Bay Discovery Center during 2012.
RECAP: NHSG-trained docents provide a significant economic benefit to two N.H. marine education centers, enabling the centers to increase programming and expose more visitors to marine science.

UNH’s 2012 Know the Coast Day Draws an Enthusiastic Crowd
Since its inception in 2010, UNH’s Know the Coast Day has given area residents of all ages an introduction to the wide range of marine-related work being done at the University. Organized and staffed in large measure by NHSG staff and about 80 NHSG-trained UNH Marine Docent volunteers, this year’s two-day event attracted about 700 participants and included tours of two of UNH’s marine research and teaching facilities. New this year, the program included one day devoted strictly to school groups and was designed to give potential undergraduates an understanding of how they could launch marine-related careers at UNH.

Volunteers Power a Range of Coastal Research Projects
Established in 2011, NHSG’s Coastal Research Volunteer (CRV) program links interested residents with marine scientists in need of assistance with their research projects. During 2012, approximately 125 volunteers contributed 1883 hours assisting with a range of research efforts. These included playing a critical role in increasing the number of sites monitored and the frequency of data collection in a research project on horseshoe crab populations with observations made by the CRV comprising more than 50% of the total; monitoring blue mussels for toxic contaminants; enabling a researcher to complete saltmarsh vegetation surveys at four plots, identify unexpected rare plant species, and cut and harvest phragmites stalks within an eight acre plot for biofuel development; and assisting with raising over 11,000 oysters and restoring a quarter million new oysters to two-plus acres of reef in the Great Bay Estuary.

NHSG-supported UNH Course Introduces Students to Realities of Marine Science Careers
For over 40 years, students taking UNH’s Tech 797, which is supported in part by NHSG, have learned firsthand what it takes to solve real marine-related problems. Guided by faculty advisors, students work as members of interdisciplinary project teams to produce real solutions to real problems. The student teams define the problem, prepare a budget, conduct literature surveys, engage in dialogue with experts in the community, deal with vendors, design and build a working engineering model if applicable, gather and analyze scientific data, conduct a comprehensive study, and make interim reports. Often, their work leads to the discovery of new knowledge and the development of new technology. During 2012, nineteen students participated on five teams. One team developed an underwater remotely operated vehicle, another studied genetic resilience and diversity among eelgrass species, and another team investigated hydrokinetic power generation at a site on N.H.’s Piscataqua River. At the end of the course, the teams present their work to a jury of experts and provide NHSG with their final reports for submission to the Sea Grant Library.

Doyle Fellowships Provide Summer Opportunities for Undergrads with Marine Interests
Established in memory of its former associate director to address the need for workforce development in marine science and policy areas, NHSG’s Brian E. Doyle Undergraduate Marine Extension Fellowship program enabled four students representing three N.H. universities to work with NHSG staff during the summer of 2012. A Dartmouth College biology major worked on a range of aquaculture projects to culture rainbow trout, shellfish, oysters, scallops and mussels, while a visual arts student from UNH Manchester was instrumental in launching NHSG’s video production component by advising Communications staffers on equipment purchases, training staff, and producing the program’s first video. A UNH student interested in marine policy worked with city and regional planners, UNH climate change scientists and FEMA officials while working on NHSG’s coastal communities and climate change initiatives. A UNH marine biology student traveled with fishermen and conducted interviews to introduce them to the public and spread awareness of current fishing practices and the future of the fishing industry, developing a blog on the subject.

NHSG Discovery Cruises Documented in Video
For over a decade, NHSG Discovery Cruises have given area residents and visitors the opportunity to participate in half-day research cruises into the Great Bay Estuary or out to the Isles of Shoals and to tour marine labs in both locations. Working with a student videographer, Communications staffers produced a video about the cruises in 2012. The video will serve as a tool to advertise the opportunity and to give potential participants a better idea of how Discovery Cruises combine adventure with education.

New NHSG Website Facilitates Staff-stakeholder Interaction
Working closely with the entire NHSG staff, Communications built a Drupal-based website for the program during 2012. The new site replaces both the former program site and a separate site devoted to the UNH Marine Docent Program, NHSG’s marine education volunteer effort. Each area of the new site will be maintained by the staffers responsible for that particular topic, thus making the site much more responsive to stakeholder needs.

NHSG Marine Educators Take Residents and Visitors Discovery Cruising
UNH Discovery Cruises have a solid track record over nearly two decades of increasing knowledge and connectedness to N.H.'s coastal water resources. These public cruises are day-long, activity-based educational events delivered by NHSG Extension staff and UNH Marine Docents trained by N.H. Sea Grant aboard the university's research vessel, Gulf Challenger. The cruises travel into the Great Bay Estuary stopping at the Jackson Estuarine Lab, or out to the Isles of Shoals and the Shoals Marine Lab. NHSG offered 12 cruises in 2012, providing 415 participants with first-hand experiences in marine science. Over 90% of the participants on Great Bay cruises reported increased knowledge of the physical and chemical characteristics of an estuary, the inhabitants of the estuary including plankton, eelgrass, oysters and horseshoe crabs, and the interactions between the biotic and abiotic. They also learned about tools and techniques used by scientists conducting research in the bay. Over 90% also reported an increase in their feelings of connectedness, curiosity and concern for the estuary. Feedback is consistently positive about the value and quality of the educational experience. Participants in the Shoals cruises were introduced to the biological, oceanographic and cultural history of the Gulf of Maine through tours of Appledore Island and hands-on activities aboard the Gulf Challenger. They learned about the rich productivity of the Gulf and how that led to the development of the fishing industry in New England. The natural history of the island was explored through tours of gull colonies and flora. Visitors also learned about the history of the island.

NHSG Pamphlet Highlights Marine Literacy Programs Offered by UNH Marine Docents
NHSG produced the pamphlet, “UNH Marine Docents Program Offerings,” in 2012 detailing the in-school and boat-based programs offered by the UNH Marine Docents. Marine literacy standards are part of the N.H. state curriculum and these programs offer hands-on methods of improving students’ understanding of core STEM subjects. This pamphlet will be sent to schools throughout the Seacoast and interior N.H., thus improving advertising of these programs and likely increasing students’ interest in engaging with the docents on marine literacy subjects.

Sea Grant Education Network Awarded National Marine Educators Association President’s Award
NHSG’s Mark Wiley, Chair of the Sea Grant Education Network, accepted a President’s Award from National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) President Diana Payne at the group’s 2012 annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. The Network was cited for its extensive leadership contributions to NMEA through the Board of Directors, board committees, and conference planning. Numerous Sea Grant educators have been president or board members and the organization’s efforts in ocean literacy and science standards have been strongly supported by Sea Grant educators.

NHSG Marine Educators Lead Efforts to Establish Evolving Science Standards
Over the past several years, NHSG’s marine educators and docents have revised their SeaTrek and other education programs to make sure they support national ocean literacy standards and N.H. science standards. During this time, Mark Wiley, NHSG’s assistant director for education, has played a national role in this process and served as chair of both the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association and the Sea Grant Education Network. During 2012, he worked as the NOAA partner on two education grants, the Families by the Sea Program and the Bay Watershed Education and Training Program to explain the Next Generation Science Standards, which will take effect in 2014, to 24 middle school teachers in the state. In addition, working under a three year National Science Foundation Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence grant, he is collaborating with colleagues at N.H.’s Seacoast Science Center to develop a Broader Impacts resource concept map website. The site will be a national resource for developing and nurturing relationships between scientists and informal educators to fulfill the outreach requirement of NSF grants.

Educational Programs Updated and Created by UNH Marine Docents
In 2012, UNH Marine Docents, NHSG-trained volunteer educators, developed a new SeaTrek program on cephalopods targeted to elementary and middle school students. The curriculum of the Octopus SeaTrek focuses on several cephalopod adaptations which allow octopuses, cuttlefish, and squid to camouflage themselves in the marine environment. The program uses several hands-on activities to engage the students and simulate the process cephalopods use to camouflage themselves.

The Plate Tectonics SeaTrek, offered by UNH Marine Docents to students in grades K-12, explores the ever-moving surface of our dynamic planet, Earth. Members of the Plate Tectonics SeaTrek team redeveloped a portion of the program in 2012 to introduce middle and high-school student to the types of life found at underwater thermal vents associated with tectonic plates. These communities utilize very different chemical and biological approaches to living in the hot, dark environment found at the vents.

Whales, dolphins and seals of the Gulf of Maine are discussed in the Marine Mammals SeaTrek Program, offered to all age groups. In 2012, a team of docents added a new hands-on activity to the program to demonstrate how whales find food in the dark. Using echolocation, pupils will understand how toothed whales identify sources of food that they are unable to see.

Recent reports identifying nitrogen-based challenges to the Great Bay Estuary prompted the UNH Marine Docent Great Bay Estuary program team to update and re-focus the program in 2012 to explain the sources of excess nitrogen in the system, explain why excess nitrogen is a problem, and identify actions residents of the Great Bay watershed can take to help reduce the nitrogen load in the bay. This updated program is now being offered to schools and groups as part of the catalogue of SeaTrek programs offered by the docents.

UNH Marine Docents Power Marine Education in New Hampshire
During 2012, the Marine Docents, a cadre of almost 200 NHSG-led and -trained volunteer educators, spent close to 7000 hours conducting marine education programs for state and area residents. This included 120 in-school SeaTrek programs for approximately 7300 students at 75 schools, six boat-based Floating Labs for 150 students, and six Day of the Coast programs which provided over 200 SeaTreks to more than 1200 students and teachers. SeaTrek programs provide an engaging educational experience designed to increase understanding of the marine environment and the challenges it faces, as well as foster a stronger sense of stewardship. The programs are closely aligned with, and support, both the NOAA approved climate and ocean literacy standards, and the recently released Next Generation Science Standards which are expected to become the adopted science standards for K-12 formal education. Docents also staffed local nature centers and demonstrated the importance of our marine environment to several thousand citizens at events like Discover Wild N.H. Day, Tall Ships Weekend, and the Fish and Lobster Festival. Docents receive ongoing training at monthly meetings, and the docent program recruited and trained 18 new docents this year.


2011
 
N.H. Sea Grant Trains 12 Lay Marine Educators in 2011
The N.H. Sea Grant Marine Literacy Program trained 12 new UNH Marine Docents in basic marine science and formal and informal education practices during a six-month period. These new docents joined existing program teams to provide educational programming to schools, or are volunteering at other informal marine education venues in New Hampshire including the Seacoast Science Center, Great Bay Discovery Center, Gundalow Company and Blue Ocean Society. In addition, these docents bring their training and experience to formal and informal stewardship positions in their communities.
 
N.H. Sea Grant Conducts Over 100 Educational Programs for Over 4,000 Students
During 2011, the UNH Marine Docent Program conducted over 100 marine education programs for over 4,000 students in over 100 New Hampshire schools. These programs introduced students to the marine habitats of the N.H. coast and to the biology and ecology of many of the region’s marine creatures. In addition, the program held five school-wide Day of the Coast programs during which the docents provided over 200 programs to over 1,000 students. For many students in the rural parts of the state these programs are their only exposure to the coast.
 
N.H. Sea Grant Provides Seafood and Marine Science Awareness to over 4,000 at the 2011 Fish and Lobster Festival
UNH Marine Docents provided educational exhibits and programs supporting the New Hampshire Fish and Lobster Festival, an annual event that educates the public about local, sustainable seafood. The Festival was attended by over 4,000 people, and the docent program provided exhibits and programs highlighting Gulf of Maine organisms. Docents also provided tours of representative fishing vessels explaining how each contributes to the harvesting of sustainable seafood.
 
N.H. Sea Grant Educates over 250 Students on 11 Boat-Based Cruises
The UNH Marine Docent program trained 275 students from four schools in boat-based marine science activities though the docent-led Floating Lab Program. During this half-day program, students learn about the Gulf of Maine marine environment by participating in hands-on activities in water quality measurement, plankton collection and observation, current measurement, benthic sampling and navigation.
 
N.H. Sea Grant Introduces over 130 to the Gulf of Maine through Six Discovery Cruises
In 2011, the UNH Marine Docent Program increased the knowledge and awareness of 131 adults and children from the general public about the Gulf of Maine, the Isles of Shoals and the Shoals Marine Laboratory through six one-day Shoals Discovery Cruises to Appledore Island. Docents introduced participants to the social and natural history of the Isles and explained the oceanographic and ecological characteristics of the Gulf of Maine and its place in the development of the fishing industry of New England.
 
NHSG Staff and Docents Help Power UNH’s 2011 Know the Coast Day
NHSG provided leadership for the second annual UNH Marine Program “Know the Coast Day,” which is an open-house event at all three of UNH’s marine research and teaching facilities. The event attracted over 700 participants and over 100 volunteers from the Docent Program and the Marine Program. Multiple educational programs were offered at each site and showcased UNH’s marine research and education.
 
UNH Marine Docents Contribute 7,757 Hours to Marine Education Programming in Region
The 175 volunteers who participate in the UNH Marine Docent Program helped organize and run hundreds of programs during 2011, including SeaTrek presentations, Day of the Coast celebrations, Sea Chantey performances, marine lab tours, Discovery Cruises to the Isles of Shoals and Great Bay, and a boat building workshop. In total, they donated 7,757 hours to these activities.
Coastal Research Volunteers Devote 150 Hours to UNH-based Research Efforts
The goal of NHSG’s recently established Coastal Research Volunteer (CRV) Program is to engage volunteers in enhancing and expanding locally relevant research and participating in meaningful science and stewardship opportunities. The program provides an interface where interested volunteers are matched with researchers to work on a variety of funded projects in the New Hampshire Seacoast and surrounding watersheds. During 2011, the program’s first year, 50 volunteers contributed 150 hours to these efforts.

UNH Marine Docents Update Three SeaTrek Programs
The Climate Change SeaTrek Program provides an overview of the science of climate change and the reasons it is a controversial topic. It is offered to upper middle school, high school and adult audiences by trained UNH Marine Docents. The Climate Change SeaTrek Program was significantly updated in 2011 to include a major emphasis on ocean acidification and climate change mitigation.
 
The Rocky Shore SeaTrek Program explores the organisms of the rocky intertidal zone with an emphasis on how they adapt to the physical stresses found there. In 2011, the Rocky Shore SeaTrek underwent a major broadening and updating, and several new hands-on and engagement activities have been added to the program. The seaweed component has been strengthened. The UNH Marine Docents offer versions of this program to all age groups.
 
Whales, dolphins and seals of the Gulf of Maine are discussed in the Marine Mammals SeaTrek Program. Visual aids and hands-on activities help students explore the adaptations that allow mammals to live in the sea. The Marine Mammal SeaTrek Program underwent significant review and improvement by an energetic and committed group of Docents in 2011. The hands-on activities are significantly improved, and the science of mammalian physiology is stronger. The UNH Marine Docents offer versions of this program to all age groups.
 

2010


 

Docents Provided 7,000 Volunteer Hours in 2010

 

The recent reports of two national commissions the PEW Oceans Commission and the United States Commission on Ocean Policy emphasize the important role of developing a citizenry literate in marine and aquatic science. These reports join the ongoing efforts in public schools to improve student performance in mathematics and science, efforts that could benefit from using marine and aquatic science as an engaging context for teaching these subjects. To that end, N.H. Sea Grant has maintained a three-decade old program of volunteer-based marine education the UNH Marine Docent Program that provides ocean literacy oriented educational programming to more than 5,000 students in New Hampshire annually, accounting for 7,000 volunteer hours. The Docent program was recently acknowledged as a Best Management Practice in volunteer-based marine education efforts by the National Sea Grant review process. 


 

UNH Marine Docents Mark 10 Years of Climate Change Education

 

 

The information available on climate change has changed drastically since the UNH Marine Docents first began teaching the subject to schools and the public almost a decade ago. The Docents are a group of 170 volunteers who educate the community about coastal resources. As such, it is imperative the Docents remain updated on the most accurate and recent findings science has to offer in order to translate that information effectively to the public. Twelve Docents were recently trained by climate scientists from UNH and then developed an hour-long educational program reflecting the most up-to-date information regarding climate change. Docents presented this program to student and adult groups more than a dozen times in 2010 and continue to offer the program as the need arises.

 
Sea Grant Supports New Hampshire Sustainable Seafood Event
 
A group of New Hampshire restaurants, seafood suppliers, fishermen and sustainable food organizations utilized the leadership and expertise of Sea Grant extension educators to develop and hold a one-day event in Portsmouth, N.H., on September 25, 2010, to educate about sustainable seafood. The event, entitled “N.H. Fish and Lobster Festival,” attracted more than 4000 visitors who sampled local fish and lobster dishes and learned about fish, lobsters, fishing and seafood preparation at over 20 exhibits and demonstrations.

 

Nearly 700 Visitors Explored UNH Marine Laboratories During Know the Coast Day

 
On Saturday, October 2, 2010, N.H. Sea Grant, the UNH Marine Docents and the UNH Marine Program launched the first Know the Coast Day. During the free, family-friendly event the public was able to visit UNH’s three marine laboratories and meet UNH faculty and students who are working to expand our knowledge of the marine environment. At Jackson Estuarine Lab on Great Bay in Durham, visitors learned about oysters and eelgrass, boarded the Gundalow, made fish prints and hiked along the coast. At the Jere Chase Ocean Engineering Lab on the UNH campus in Durham, cutting-edge technology such as ocean mapping, ocean renewable energy, the ocean engineering wave tank and buoys were on display. At the Coastal Marine Research Facility in New Castle, the public explored lobsters, flounder, open ocean aquaculture, a commercial fishing vessel and numerous UNH research vessels.

 

2009

 

 

The UNH Marine Docent Program is the primary vehicle for delivering marine science education programs to the formal pre-K-12 school audience and adults in New Hampshire and New England. The program addresses the needs and intended outcomes of the strategic plan for marine science education of N.H. Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension, as well as the ocean literacy goals of NOAA.
 
Docent Programs
 
SeaTrek Programs, which are the marine science education programs docents bring to classrooms or adult gatherings addressing such topics as the rocky shore, sandy beach, or global climate change.
 
Boat-based programs that are offered on the R/V Gulf Challenger or party fishing boats and involve hands-on activities on the water.
 
Training opportunities that address docent competency include intensive training for new docents, the on-going WADE training for veteran docents, and monthly meetings that always include an educational component.
 
Accomplishments resulting from the Docent program include:
 
Trained 21 new UNH Marine Docents in basic marine science and formal and informal education practices. These new docents joined existing program teams to provide educational programming to schools or are volunteering at other informal marine education venues, including the Seacoast Science Center, Sandy Point Discovery Center, the Great Bay Coast Watch and the Gundalow Program.
 
Conducted approximately 112 SeaTrek marine education programs for approximately 4,011 students in 100 schools.
 
Trained 275 students from four schools in boat-based marine science activities though the docent-led Floating Lab Program. During this half-day program students learn about the Gulf of Maine marine environment by participating in hands-on activities in water quality measurement, plankton collection and observation, current measurement, benthic sampling and navigation.
 
Increased the knowledge and awareness of 100 adults and 50 children from the general public about the Gulf of Maine, the Isles of Shoals and the Shoals Marine Laboratory through five one-day Shoals Discovery Cruises to Appledore Island.
 
Conducted five “Day of the Coast” programs in New Hampshire, which provided over 200 SeaTrek programs to more than 1,000 students and teachers.
 
Provided marine science awareness to thousands of New Hampshire citizens at exhibits at “Discover Wild New Hampshire Day,” the Tall Ships weekend in Portsmouth, the Rochester Fair, River Days in Portsmouth and Durham, and UNH “University Day.”
 
Provided marine science awareness to over 5,000 New Hampshire citizens at the inaugural Fish and Lobster Festival in Portsmouth, N.H.
 
Conducted 12 monthly docent meetings attended by over 80 docents each meeting at which significant training was provided.
 
Great Bay Coast Watch
 
The Great Bay Coast Watch is a volunteer water quality monitoring group that collects baseline water quality data at over 20 different sites along Great Bay and the marine coast of New Hampshire. Recent funding challenges and recognition that the goals of the organization need updating have prompted an evaluation, needs-assessment and visioning process for the organization. As a result of the guidance and support, Great Bay Coast Watch staff have met with internal and external stakeholders to identify an appropriate role for the organization.
 
Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association
 
The Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association (GOMMEA) is the northern New England regional affiliate of the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA), the national professional organization representing and supporting formal and informal marine science education. The organization is at a low point of membership and activity in its history and needs revitalization.
 
Members of the N.H. Sea Grant/UNH Cooperative Extension staff are active members of the GOMMEA board, and Mark Wiley is the current president.
 
Wiley took a leadership role in the recent evaluation of the role of the organization and the development of three well attended professional development activities attended by over 120 marine educators.
 
Regional Aquatic Nuisance Species Diver Monitoring
 
N.H. Sea Grant/UNH Cooperative Extension is part of a two-year, grant-funded effort to provide educational programming to address aquatic nuisance species in the Gulf of Maine.
 
The UNH portion of the effort centers around the development of a training program for recreational divers that educates them to the issue, trains them to identify 10 of the species of greatest concern, and provides them with information about reporting their sightings to the New England ANS database.
 
The following was accomplished this past year:
 
Several divers have provided direct evidence of monitoring effort through photos and self-reported database additions.
Training was provided to the New England Aquarium Diver club, a large and influential club in eastern Massachusetts.
An interactive Web-based map of data has been developed and a summary report is currently being completed.
 
Other Maine Education Programs and Impacts
 
Strong collaborative ties continue with three of the four Seacoast based marine science education programs – the Seacoast Science Center, the Great Bay Discovery Center and the Gundalow Company. Collaborative programs and grant applications have been developed, and constructive discussions about future programming continue to take place.
 
Charter membership in the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative (NEOSEC), a regional organization sponsored by COSEE-NE. Our involvement includes participation in NEOSEC summit conferences and significant contributions to organization planning.
 
Provided professional development in marine education and standards-based assessment to over 25 teachers and administrators from five districts in New Hampshire as part of a collaborative grant with the UNH Leitzel Center and other external partners.
 
Contributed to the alignment of a recently published high school level marine science textbook, Life on an Ocean Planet, with the national Ocean Literacy standards.

2006

The UNH Marine Docent Program is the primary vehicle for delivering marine science education programs to the pre-K-12 school audience and adults in New Hampshire and New England. The program addresses the needs and intended outcomes of the strategic plan for marine science education of UNH Cooperative Extension and NH Sea Grant and the ocean literacy goals of NOAA. Over the past year, the Marine Docent Program:

  • Trained 20 new docents in basic marine science and formal and informal education practices. These new docents joined existing program teams to provide educational programming to schools or began volunteering at other informal marine education venues, including the Seacoast Science Center, the Sandy Point Discovery Center, the Great Bay Coast Watch and the Gundalow Program. 
  • Conducted 50 SeaTrek marine education programs for approximately 3,500 students in 35 schools. 
  • Trained 100 students from five schools in boat-based marine science activities though the docent-led Floating Lab Program. The students learned about the marine environment by participating in hands-on activities in water quality measurement, plankton collection and observation, current measurement, benthic sampling and navigation. 
  • Educated 100 students and eight teachers about the Great Bay estuarine environment through the boat- and shore-based Great Bay Living Lab. 
  • Increased the knowledge and awareness of 225 adults and 125 children from the general public about the Gulf of Maine, the Isles of Shoals and the Shoals Marine Lab through one-day Shoals Discovery Cruises to Appledore Island. 
  • Supported the Nor’easter Bowl, the northern New England regional component of the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB) by staffing two judging teams for the competition held at the University of Maine. NOSB is an annual national academic quiz competition for high school teams in marine science. A NH high school team won the first prize and eventually won the national competition. 
  • Conducted “Day of the Coast” programs in Newmarket, Somersworth and Canaan, NH, that involved more than 600 students and teachers. 
  • Provided marine science awareness to hundreds of New Hampshire citizens at exhibits at “Discover Wild New Hampshire Day,” the Rochester Fair, Rockingham County Cooperative Extension Day and UNH’s “University Day.” 
  • Conducted 10 monthly docent training meetings, each of which was attended by more than 80 docents.

The Bigelow Laboratory, the University of Maine and UNH are grant-funded partners responsible for developing the first theme-based Center of Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) in the national system. The role of this COSEE is to develop ocean science curriculum and instructional resources and support that can be used successfully by all schools, including those inland. The role of UNH in the partnership is to develop and implement teacher professional development components. NH Sea Grant provides program evaluation support to the UNH component and to the entire COSEE effort.

2005

As in prior years, the Marine Docents continue to be the major conduit through which Sea Grant Extension delivers its marine science education programs to a wide variety of stakeholders. The nearly 200 volunteers participated in/delivered 100 programs reaching about 8,000 people including 3,500 students in 35 schools.

Boat-based education programs continue to be very popular. The Great Bay Living Lab, intended for middle school students/teachers, the Floating Lab for junior and senior high school students, and the Discovery Cruises for adults made more than 50 trips with a total of 1,500 participants. Surveys of Discovery Cruise participants this year found that they consistently report increased knowledge of estuaries and estuarine research. The Floating Lab provides students an opportunity to gain ship-board experience in water quality measurements, plankton collection and observation, current measurement, benthic sampling and navigation. Most of the participating schools have formally incorporated this program into their science curriculum.

Low-power radio is a useful tool for Sea Grant Extension to reach a potentially large audience traveling through a particular geographic location. Great Bay Area Radio continues to broadcast messages about the Great Bay Estuary, research and related events. Topics this year included information about nonpoint source pollution, septic systems, wildlife, marine research projects and the recruitment for volunteers, and announcements about educational events and opportunities in seacoast NH. A portion of listeners responded to an online survey and indicated learning more about estuaries in general, the Great Bay in particular, estuarine wildlife, research, events and educational opportunities. There is some evidence that radio listeners are attending events and facilities that they hear about on the radio. Great Bay Area Radio continues to be viewed as an attractive resource for partner educational agencies and organizations in coastal NH who contact us requesting coverage.

Sea Grant Extension successfully conducted the 2005 Nor’easter Bowl, the northern New England regional component of the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB). NOSB is an annual national academic competition for high school teams in marine science. Seven teams of students and faculty coaches competed in a day-long competition involving short answer and group essay questions in marine science with the winner traveling to the national competition.

Sea Grant marine education staff are active in regional and national associations that promote the teaching of marine science concepts in the classroom. Mark Wiley is president-elect of the Gulf of Maine Marine Education Association, which will host the National Marine Education Association’s annual conference in 2007. Wiley also presented a very positively evaluated workshop at the recent NMEA conference on incorporating marine science into standards-based lesson planning.

2004

Marine Docents continue to carry out the bulk of our marine science education programs. As in past years, we have about 175 active volunteers, including 15 new docents who participated in the five-moth training program offered by Sea Grant Extension this past year. They delivered an array of programs to approximately 15,000 people and contributed 100,000 automobile miles to Sea Grant.

Of particular note were two week-long Elderhostel programs that were planned and delivered by marine docents to 60 participants. These are marine-issues oriented programs with lectures and activities in a New England town meeting format. Participant evaluations indicated very high levels of satisfaction with the content and style.

Both the Great Bay Living Lab and the Coastal Floating Lab, boat-based education programs, were again popular with clientele. Two hundred students and teachers took part in six Great Bay Living Lab cruises that included multiple hands-on activities that complimented their classroom work. All four elementary school classes incorporated the program into their science curriculum. The two high school groups who participated responded positively and gained valuable on-board sampling experience that will be helpful in work they’re doing with a UNH oceanographer. Another success came this year when we learned that a sixth grade teacher who had participated in the Sea Grant Great Bay Living Lab for several years was now conducting his own version independently.

The Coastal Floating Lab, held aboard a 65-foot charter fishing boat, had 500 students and teachers from grades five-10 (20 classes) participating this year. The program’s 200-page curriculum and three-hour program aboard the boat are designed to support the NH Science Frameworks with site information, classroom and on-board activities. All except one school had this program as a part of their regular curriculum. For example, Portsmouth Middle School has the Lab as a part of a year-long study of the water-related environment for their entire eighth grade. A sophomore class at Coe-Brown Academy has utilized this program for their sophomore biology classes for three years now. Dover is restoring the Floating Lab as a part of their science curriculum for 2005.

Several teachers who have used the Floating Lab in the past now do their own program, working with boat operators in Rye and Hampton. Milford High School has made it a four-year program, using seniors as instructors aboard another charter boat operated out of Rye, asking for minimal assistance from Sea Grant Extension.

Discovery Cruises to Great Bay and Appledore Island are five-to-six-hour boat-based programs designed to increase public knowledge about the natural resources and maritime history of the region and to offer an opportunity to present UNH educational opportunities and pertinent current research to a variety of audiences including clubs, families, 4-H youngsters and visitors. Hands-on sampling experiences aboard the boat and tours of the Shoals Marine Lab and Appledore Island or Jackson Estuarine Lab and Great Bay help participants put abstract marine science concepts into perspective. This year 400 people participated in the 17 cruises with on-board evaluations indicating that they had a significant increase in knowledge about estuarine and near-shore environments.

Two Day of the Coast programs were offered this year to 800 middle school students. These are cooperative efforts between Sea Grant and the school, involving a whole day of marine activities by the marine docents. Teachers also involve their classes in both pre and post “D

Publications

Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant

Report

  • 2004 Support for shellfish program and estuarine education (2004). Sharon Meeker and Ann Reid.

Brochure

  • Sea Grant marine and coastal environmental education programs (1996).
  • UNH Marine Docents - come join us!
  • UNH Marine Docents - program offerings
  • Great Bay Discovery Cruise pocket guide
  • UNH Marine Docents - program offerings
  • Who are the Sea Chantey Singers?
  • Discovery Cruise 2013 rack card
  • Sea Trek--explore the wonders of the world of water with UNH marine docents (2003).

CD/Video

  • UNH Marine Docent Discovery Cruises (2013) (video).
  • UNH Marine Docent program (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube Channel.

Manual

  • UNH Marine Docent program handbook
  • UNH Marine Docent Coastal Floating Lab training materials

Poster

  • Sea Trek--explore the wonders of the world of water with UNH marine docents (2003).